Australian Scientists Protest CSIRO Crisis as Abbott Gov't Plans to Cut 700 More Jobs

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By Reissa Su | June 27, 2014 5:08 PM EST

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) scientists have taken to the streets their protest regarding the Abbott government's job cuts in relation to the new budget policies. The protesters wore lab coats carrying signs with "science puns" written on them.

Reuters
A parking structure at the University of California San Diego uses innovative ''solar trees'' to collect renewable energy from the Sun February 8, 2011.

The protest on June 26 saw 200 scientists denouncing Prime Minister Tony Abbott's deep budget cuts. David McCallum, senior experimental scientist, said the government is cutting down manufacturing while car companies are pulling out of Australia.

He added Australia is supposed to be "a smart economy," but the country may fail to achieve that goal if it cuts science.

The CSIRO staff and scientists have already conducted a dozen protest meetings nationwide to express their anger at the Abbott government's plan to cut $115 million from Australia's prestigious scientific organization.

CSIRO is about to lose 700 staff aside from the 477 jobs that were cut in the previous 12 months. According to Michael Borgas, acting secretary of the CSIRO Staff Association, the Abbott government's budget and job cuts were "unprecedented."

Borgas said CSIRO is facing a "jobs crisis" as the organization may be looking at the biggest job cut in history.

Reports said some of the areas to be hit by the cuts include renewable energy, neuroscience, liquid fuels, colorectal cancer, carbon capture and storage, manufacturing research and information technology. Eight CSIRO sites will be closing soon across Australia.

The country's premier science institution will lose a quarter of its researchers, scientists and staff after Abbott announced in late 2013 that the government will implement a public service jobs' freeze.

The uncertainty over Australia's renewable energy target has led to a decline in investments within the renewable energy sector. Investors and economists are concerned about the future of renewable energy in Australia, especially now that the country stands to lose billions of dollars worth of job opportunities.

CSIRO is responsible for many innovations in science and technology. Among them are Wi-Fi, aeroguard and the invention of plastic notes. The Twitter hashtag, #thankscsiroforthat, is a tribute to the hardworking male and female scientists at CSIRO.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
A parking structure at the University of California San Diego uses innovative ''solar trees'' to collect renewable energy from the Sun February 8, 2011.
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